Monday, February 15, 2021

3,2,1 Weird-A Reflection

In these challenging times, we hope this message finds you well...shut up Bath and Body Works. I do not need an email from you nor do I need COVID candles. I need to perform again. First, I want to feel safe and comfortable. I need an audience who is compliant with rules and expectations. I need a community willing to sacrifice "freedoms" for the greater good of the community. I am thankful for my health and the health of loved ones, friends, and strangers. I am sorry for those who have experienced loss during the past year. Times have been tough, I know. I also know I will not be taking the stage any time soon, however a boy can reflect. 

Zoom is wonderful but it is not the same as being on stage with other creatives. We all make jokes about how many years has passed during the first few months of the pandemic, however it's barely been one year since the world changed. For GoProv, the year 2020 was supposed to be the break out year where we were going to introduce "the Future of Improv". We had multiple shows in February and early March from a "Laugh and Learn", our annual Valentine's Day is a joke show, a couple private gigs, and of course our epic "3,2,1 Weird" show before we even knew what Coronavirus meant. Our momentum was masked, isolated, quarantined, and ultimately quelled. Thankfully Zoom became commonplace but it's not the same. 

There is nothing like standing on stage in front of an audience hearing laughter, cheers, moans/groans, and silence. GoProv will feel accomplished with any of these responses. Our job is to make stuff up. It is as simple as that. No script. No plot. No safety net. Just improv. We have been doing this for almost 13 years. Our monthly shows have been on a scale of somewhere between "Epic" and "Well, that just happened". Most often somewhere in the middle, hell short form improv comedy isn't known for being avant garde. 

My most rewarding performances have had an element of vulnerability, a moment of truth, and a time when I could reveal my true self, even if just a glimpse. We have had a few of these moments over the years, many of which have occurred more recently. 2020 was supposed to be the year where improv meets, fringe, meets experimental theatre. I feel myself getting in the weeds and on tangents right now in this post, so maybe I'll focus on the point at hand: a reflection on our 3,2,1 Weird show. 

TMLMTBGB...does that mean anything to you? Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind was a Chicago mainstay theatre performance. 30 plays in 60 minutes...or free pizza for everyone. Fast forward to some legal battles and TMLMTBGB changed names to the Neo-Futurists. Inspiration comes in many forms. A Chicago road trip to Second City, iO, and the Neo Futurists fed the creative soul of myself and the team that went on this "research trip". Sharing some thoughts, ideas, inspiration, collaboration, conversation, discussion, hopes, aspirations, White Claw, and dreams with fellow creatives sparked the concept of 3,2,1 Weird. 

The 3,21, Weirdos were me, Adrienne, Charlie, Colin, Derek, Dylan, Grace, Joe, Paxton, Sadie, Sydney, and Art House.

Each one of us wrote a short "skit" that included the entire cast. The skit had to be based on a truth or a reality. There were 20 of these 3 minute, 2 minute, or 1 minute sketches titled: 
Junk Yard Song
Cereal Roast
All about that Bass
Is my subconscious trying to kill me or is it just the world
Virgin Mary 
Jellicle Choice
Shiny Egg
I'm writing a song
Hustled by Ghosts
Us vs Them 
SBG
Letter B
Who's afraid of the dark 
AMA
Bloody Valentine
This is when she dies
Rose Ceremony
Joe's a pee pee boy
2 Spoons and a lie
French Burglars
and Derek Playing Psycho Killer on bass guitar all night

Nothing was more revealing or more vulnerable than "2 spoons and a lie" (we even had a scene where a performer stripped nearly bare so that's saying a lot). The 2 spoons scene required all performers to stand in a line passing 2 spoons from person to person. When the spoons came your way, you would put them over your eyes and state a lie about yourself. This was in the moment, not rehearsed and not scripted. This was completely improvised in the moment. There could have easily been lies like "I once fought a dolphin in a death match" however folks were quite vulnerable with their lies. "I am happy with my sex drive", "I am happy with my body type", "I think people find me funny", and more and more truths were shared in this game about lies. To stand on that stage with my eyes covered while sharing my inner most truths (in the form of a lie) was powerful. I could feel everyone else listening to each other and sharing something personal. It was cathartic, revealing, emotional, and necessary. Having such a creative high right before a pandemic is what got me through the year that was 2020. 

I sent this in an email to the collaborators the day after the show "This show started with an idea of creating something silly and I believe we surpassed my expectations. We created a piece of art that was heart warming, charming, silly, absurd, and life changing. The power of artistic expression is important to me. I have greater appreciation of "experimental theatre". The directive was to share something true and personal. The vulnerability, honesty, and creativity that was offered to our audience was remarkable."

I think about 3,2,1 Weird so often to keep the memories alive and thriving in my creative spirit. My own piece "Hustled by Ghosts" about the ghosts who told me I am not good enough, that I can't, that I shouldn't, and that I am nothing no longer haunts me. I have released all of that self doubt and fear of belonging. I know I do not have to fit in with everyone I encounter. There is a world that accepts me for who I am and who I want to be. That world is filled with the people I call family. Every 3,2,1 Weird collaborator and even those audience members who were impacted by our show are family to me. 

Yes, I miss performing. Yes, I miss being in an audience. Yes, I miss the world we used to have. I also know that we are going to be better. The "pod", "bubble", and "circle" that we have maintained during this world changing pandemic has proven that quality is far more important than quantity. I am stronger knowing that I am not alone when I have memories, plans, goals, aspirations, and desires. 

My final 2 spoons and a lie: "I am happy being alone".


 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Autumn Fall

From the Storytelling Showcase Dec 20, 2020

Autumn Fall

This is a story told from three perspectives about the impact and aftermath of an unfortunate accident on Thanksgiving Day 2017.   

A tree:

The day was unusually warm for a late November Thursday in Goshen, Indiana. The air was calm and my leaves were still. There seemed to be more people frolicking and being active on this particular day. Sometime late in the afternoon, multiple people climbed on my limbs racing towards the top. I knew I was strong, sturdy, and ready to support the weight of two human adults and three squirrelly teenagers. One particular adult climbed higher than all of the others. He had a careless confidence in his skill and ability to out climb the adult and the younger climbers. Let’s call him Mr. Swiftly. My strength is in my base and my roots. Admittedly, I have an abundance of leaves and branches at my top however I do not have much strength up there. You can see me swaying in the breeze and casting shadows from my remaining leaves. I tried to warn these folks that going too high or moving too fast to the bottom would be dangerous. A race to the bottom was successful for 4 of the 5 climbers. The one with the reckless abandon jumped from branch to branch as if he was in a jungle or a massive squirrel. An outward jump towards my lowest branch was meant to deliver bragging rights for this particular climber as the first one to reach the ground. I tried to make a connection. Sadly though I could not hold on to this human as he missed my branch and fell quickly towards the ground. If only I could warn him to tuck his arms in before hitting the ground. The message could not be delivered. Both hands were outstretched to stop the impact. I knew it was going to be a forceful impact. I knew it was going to be painful. I knew he could not hear my warnings. He fell hard onto his hands and even smacked his head on the ground. It appeared to hurt. However, Mr Swiftly jumped up, brushed the dirt from his face and went inside the house. I never saw him again. 



A car: 


Have I got stories for you? Where would I even begin? I’ll pick it up just after the Tree left off. I’ve seen Mr. Swiftly act careless and reckless plenty of times.  Now, I have a confidentiality agreement so I cannot go into too many details. You can call him Mr Swiftly, but I prefer to call him Mr. Stubborn. He is independent and self-sufficient to a fault. That Thursday night and the next morning were quite interesting to me. Mr Stubborn drove us home after the great fall and believe it or not 15 hours later, he drove us to Goshen Hospital. The pain and the swelling must have been unbearable. He must have realized that the impact caused something to break. I have to say sitting in that parking lot for almost 3 hours on what the world calls Black Friday was a lonely start to my day. I would have much rather enjoyed being at Target or somewhere that I could see my peers. He finally came out to see me and I noticed he had a temporary cast on the left arm and a wrap from the knuckles to the upper arm. Both arms were in shoulder slings to prevent movement. Somehow he took off the slings and navigated us home. Steering with knees and fingertips for 7 miles from the parking lot to home was treacherous and probably illegal. The following Monday he drove us to the orthopedic surgeon where the cast and the sling switched arms. There was now one plaster cast and one temporary cast. As a Nissan Altima, I’m no orthopedic surgeon, but it looked like the casts were meant to immobilize Mr. Stubborn. Once again, he drove us home. There were many trips of this fingertip driving. It definitely wasn’t safe, but I couldn’t tell him not to do it. One last encounter I would like to share was about 2 months later. Mr Stubborn still had a cast and a brace on his arms. He was driving home from competing in a 50K winter trail race in Kalamazoo Michigan. At a red light a semi-truck driver looked down from his big rig, blasted his air horn to get our attention, and rolled down his window to ask a question. He asked my guy, Mr Stubborn what happened?  Mr Stubborn was startled by the interaction and rolled down his own window to say “I broke my wrists.” Mr Truck driver said something like “oh that sucks. I have carpal tunnel” as he showed his own brace through the window. From November to March, everyone had a similar question about what happened. Random strangers from all over would create uncomfortable encounters. I’m not going to go into any more detail but I have to tell you, Mr. Stubborn treated me well even though I knew he was jeopardizing his own safety to drive. I bet it hurt to control me, but I never asked. 

                                

A kitchen:

Have you ever seen a grown man sit on the floor, covered in red pasta sauce, surrounded by broken glass, and crying uncontrollably? You do not know empathy until you experience something like this. Mr Helpless was doing the best he could from late November until early March with two broken wrists, 1 surgery, and 2 immobilizing casts. I’ve known him intimately since his teenage years. Every day he would visit with me listening to music, while slicing, dicing, sautéing, and cooking. The passion and joy of being in here was evident. Making food, sharing food, and eating food is a love language for him. I am proud to help bring joy to this man and his life. It pained me that day to witness the emotional breakdown caused by one simple accident. The stain of the trauma is still evident on my white cabinet and drawer faces. Marinara memories remain. When you are unable to rotate your wrist to open a jar or to twist a cap, you have to do whatever it takes. Mr Helpless was struggling to pop the top of a regular jar of sauce. A smack on the bottom of the jar with a plaster cast was a thudded failure. Mr Helpless knew that some pressure on the side of the lid could break the seal. One, two, three taps on the counter and no pop was heard. With more force, more velocity, and more pressure the fourth tap thrusted harder onto the lip of the countertop. Smash, pop, spill, splash, crack. The lid popped. The glass shattered. The sauce erupted from the jar. On the counter. On the overhead cabinets. On the drawers. In the drawers. On the floor. On the ceiling. On the wall. On his clothes. On his cast. On his other cast. On his face. The jar and the sauce were separated. At that moment, all of the pressure, the stress, the tension, the sadness, the feeling of being helpless jumped from the tree, out of the car and onto me, the kitchen. The release of emotion flowed from the heart to the eyes. The tears and the red sauce created an instant sea of sadness. Sitting in shards, surrounded by pools of sauce, and the spilling of tears from an emotional release have etched a memory in this room. A memory that remains ever present. A memory that will never surpass the joy and passion of cooking but will always be a reminder that a kitchen can support every emotion. One broken jar can try to break a man, even if just temporarily. It is in that freedom of emotional release that can give that man hope and strength that things will get better.  Things got better.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Steve Freeto Podcast Episode 3

 



11/29/2020

Welcome to Episode 3 of the Steve Freeto podcast. This is a very special episode. We have a guest that we are vetting right now. If this guest gets through, this will be the best podcast ever recorded. We have a very small window to talk with this guest. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but this guest has a brand new book to promote. I wont ruin the surprise but this guest wrote about a promised land. But first a quick word from another book. 

For some folks, improv is life and those folks know that life is improv. There’s a new book to help you improvise your life. Go, Improv is the new book by Stephen Freeto. Go, Improv is a collection of quick stories, guidelines, advice, and short form improv games for life and the stage. Go, Improv can be purchased through the online devil or you can buy local. Five dollars from every purchase made through Goshen Art House will be a donation to Goshen Art House. Support those not for profit arts organizations. Now more than ever, we need the arts. Use The Freeto at checkout for an autograph! Thats THE FREETO.  https://art-house-105912.square.site/

That’s another great partner. Hey, here at the Steve Freeto podcast I want you to know that there are so many great podcasts out there. Thanks for checking out mine. This is the podcast to end all podcasts. 

Do you ever have that not so fresh feeling? Do you have sweat in your nether region? Have we got a solution for you. Now is not the time to have that swampy feeling from your pits to your toes. Stink Stank Stunk time to get rid of that funk. Use The FREETO at check out. That’s THE FREETO. Now take your dirty ass to the shower. 

Welcome back. I am so excited for our guest. I hope we have time!  Keep in mind that I personally decide what sponsors join our podcast. Everything you hear on this podcast is run by me. My team does a great job at vetting these partners. Just like we make sure all of our guests meet our standards.

Remember Columbia House Records? Well, it’s back. You can get 12 cassettes  for the price of one Penny. Cassette tapes are the new vinyl. Do you want some tunes to be mailed to your house? Well, just pick from our most popular albums and you will be riding the storm out with the greatest hits. Like a bridge over troubled waters, Columbia House will take you to the stairway to heaven. Just find a penny, tape it to our envelope and drop it in the mail. Don’t forget to pencil in THE FREETO for free shipping. Also, as a listener to the Steve Freeto Podcast, here is a little tip. Do not use your own name. Make up a name and you will get free music. 12 tapes for one penny. 

I’ve got a great story for you. Have you ever been so embarrassed that you cringe just thinking about the memory. Hmmmm...Just call me BT cause I’m a big tease. But first, a quick word from our sponsor. 

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Well, looks like we ran out of time. I am so sorry to our guest. Maybe we will record something off air and share it behind the paywall. Sorry guest. The Steve Freeto podcast will be back next week with an all new Steve Freeto podcast. it all. See you next week. 

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Steve Freeto Podcast Episode 2

 


Welcome to Episode 2 of the Steve Freeto podcast! Today is going to be a special one. We dig real deep into the dramatic early days of Steve Freeto. We will share everything that should have been shared with a therapist years ago. But first here is a quick word from a sponsor.  

Are you like Steve Freeto and do you have childhood trauma? It is important to know that help is out there. In fact there is Better Help for you. Whether you want to talk, listen, or work through issues or concerns, Better Help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You can choose a counselor that best fits your needs. Find a counselor in your area that can understand what will help you the most. If after a few sessions you want a different counselor, you can get even Better Help. Just log on to your account and find someone to fit your needs. Better Help. It’s like getting help, but in a Better way. Don’t forget to use our offer code for a free month of Better Help. Just use The Freeto at checkout for your best help. Better Help. We are here for you.

I love that sponsor. They are more like a partner to me. So, there was so much positive feedback from Episode 1. If there is time, I will read you some of the fan mail we received here at the podcast.

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We know that times are tough out there. This podcast is meant to be a shared journey. We all are very similar in all of our differences. I love knowing we are connecting.

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The Steve Freeto Podcast is indeed the only podcast where Steve Freeto will be Steve Freeto for all of the Steve Freeto fans to get to know Steve Freeto. I would know I am Steve Freeto. You know, I didn’t really like my name in middle school and high school. Now I like it. To quote Jay Z, I am not a businessman. I am a business, man.

Some podcasts will let anyone be a sponsor. Here at the Steve Freeto podcast, we partner with only the best products and services out there. If you want to be considered as a top sponsor for this podcast, please contact TheFreeto@thefreeto.tv that’s T H E F R E E T O at T H E F R E E T O dot T V

This podcast has been a labor of love for me. I really enjoy baring my soul and letting all of you into my world. Some say I am hard to love but you know what? I am the one I love.

We haven’t had time to sort through the data to find out the demographics of our listeners but everyone is welcome here at the Steve Freeto podcast.

Do you hate certain types of people? Do you believe you are better than others? Do you want to control what women do with their bodies? Well, the Republican party wants you. With a few years of training, you too can be a hate monger working in Washington D.C.  Use The Freeto at check out and you will be entered into a free drawing for Senatorship of the State of Kentucky. Republicans: We Party like its 1618.

Wow, time flies when you are having fun. This has been another episode of the Steve Freeto podcast. Remember you cannot spell Anti-Capitalist without I. See you next week. Oh, don’t forget about our fav sponsor.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Go, Improv: How to improvise your life by Stephen Freeto

Buy the book locally through Goshen Art House!

Yes, the book is available on the world's most hated online distributor. Go ahead buy it online. You could just shoot us a message and we will ship you one from the GoProv headquarters. You can even get a signed copy if that's what you want. Hell, we might even throw in a free t-shirt or something. Shoot an email to improv@goprov.org and we can chat. Art House will be selling these too. $5 of each book sale will be donated to the folks that helped GoProv find a home. So decide for yourself. Buy from the big evil guy, buy from us, buy from a local business, or write your own book. 




Go, Improv 

Are you an improviser looking for a quick reference guide for short form games?
Are you wanting to learn about improv comedy?
Are you curious how GoProv got its start?
Are you trying to build your own improv troupe?
Are you ready to teach improv?
Are you bored with life and want to read 100 pages about improv?
Are you ready to make life more interesting?

Yes, and it's time to get the book! 

Learn over 120 short form games and exercises from GoProv. GoProv was formed in the early 2000's as Goshen's one and only improv comedy troupe. The award winning GoProv has been making tens of people laugh over the years. Calling Goshen Art House it's home, GoProv is pleased to share some insight into the professional world of improv comedy. 

Go, Improv has a chapter on how to improvise in a world that has been locked down, social distanced, and quarantined. How to improvise via Zoom and online platforms. Plenty of hints and tips are available for your online fun. 

In the year 2020 it has become even more evident that the world needs to wake up and focus on inclusivity and acceptance of diversity. Steve Freeto worked with Sadie Drescher and others to provide some helpful tools to benefit the world of improv. Normalizing feedback and doing some work against oppression in a historically oppressive medium is important. We have to address sexism, racism, ableism, xenophobia, and all of the negative impact improv has on the marginalized and under represented folks. Just think about those accents that are deemed funny but are based on stereotypes and an "ism". Check out the chapters at the end of the book to learn more. 

Looking for car crashes, explosions, sex scenes, bear fights, and vulgar language? Are you? That's creepy. If you learn improv, you can do all of that in your home edition of Go, Improv. 

Buy the book. Donate copies to your local theatre. Send some to your virtual school. Make GoProv a household name.  

$20 from GoProv includes free shipping, an autograph, and support to a local 501(c)(3) organization. Art House is our house. 

Official links to purchase the book coming soon. 

Send an email to improv@goprov.org to get started now.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Podcast Transcript


 Here is the transcript from the Steve Freeto Podcast. The episode drops soon. 

Welcome to the Steve Freeto Podcast! I am Steve Freeto. We are going to get into it today but first a word from our sponsors.

In these uncertain times. It is important to know that help is out there. In fact there is Better Help for you. Whether you want to talk, listen, or work through issues or concerns, Better Help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You can choose a counselor that best fits your needs. Find a counselor in your area that can understand what will help you the most. If after a few sessions you want a different counselor, you can get even Better Help. Just log on to your account and find someone to fit your needs. Better Help. It’s like getting help, but in a Better way. Don’t forget to use our offer code for a free month of Better Help. Just use The Freeto at checkout for your best help. Better Help. We are here for you.

Welcome back to the Steve Freeto podcast. We couldn’t do this without you. Who is we you may wonder? Well it’s just me and all of you. Here’s a word from our latest sponsor.

Remember Saturday Morning cartoons? Remember getting the biggest bowl you could find and filling it with sugary breakfast cereal? There was nothing like spending the morning with the Smurfs while the Cap’n rips apart the roof of your mouth. Slurping up milk made everything feel better. The fact is, we are all getting older. Sugary glutten cereal and whole milk does not do the body good. Try new Magic Cereal the sweet and healthy breakfast cereal for adults. As a grown ass adult, it is up to you to take care of your body. Magic Cereal is gluten free, vegan, packed with vitamins, minerals, and has no fake filler materials. Magic Cereal packs a punch and won’t hurt the roof of your mouth. Grab a bowl of Magic Cereal today. Tell them The Steve Freeto Podcast sent you. Use The Freeto at check out.

Alrighty. Let’s get into it. You know these sponsors are products that I would use even if they were not partners of this podcast. I believe in these products. I would even pay for them if they were not paid partners.

There are so many bed in a box company’s out there. Many of them sponsor podcasts. How can you ever tell them apart? Sleep Cube is not just a mattress in a box. Sleep Cube is the only sleep system that will take you to the third dimension of sleep. Sleep soundly on a Sleep Cube. Take a quick online quiz and we will fit you for the last mattress you will ever buy. Sleep Cube is the Picasso of sleep. Ah, that's a Cubism reference. You won’t regret your Sleep Cube Sleep System. Try Sleep Cube for 10 years or your money back. I have to say, I haven’t had a night where I woke up before my alarm since I had a Sleep Cube. I love sleeping now. Don’t forget to use The Freeto at checkout for free shipping. Sleep Cube…it’s the future of sleep.

Here we go. The Steve Freeto podcast is the only podcast where you will find Steve Freeto being Steve Freeto. The truth is in here.

Speaking of wanting to believe. Check out the newest entertainment platform for your entertainment. The Xfiles Box is now shipping. Do you want to help Mulder and Scully dig into the conspiracy plot or do you just want to investigate the Monsters of the Week? Either way, the XFiles Box will have secret meetings with the Cancer man and the Lone Gunmen. New from 1013 productions and Chris Carter is the one and only Subscription entertainment system. You will be tempted to hook up with your partner, but we all know that your objective is to find the aliens that abducted your sister. XFiles Box available now. Use The Freeto at checkout for a surprise gift.   

You really must know that the Steve Freeto podcast and our partners are solely here to share the adventures of Steve Freeto while also sharing some products and services that I believe in. You will never hear me sell out to corporate greed. I am all about transparency and anti-capitalism. This is the podcast for the people by the people.

Have you been in a car accident or do you have someone you want to sue? Don’t miss out on your opportunity to get what is yours. You’ve seen the hit television show Better Call Saul, now you can call an attorney that will fight for you. Give Saul & Saul Attorneys in Law A Call. Saul and Saul Attorneys in Law will be the last call you make for your law needs. Saul and Saul Attorneys in Law are here for you. Don’t forget to mention The Freeto to save $100 on your retainer fee.

Check out the show notes for links to all of our podcast partners. This podcast would not be possible without all of our supporters. Thank you so much for listening. We will be back next week to bring you more insight into the world of Steve Freeto. Until then. We leave you with a quick word from our sponsors…

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Go, Improv...the book interview with myself!



Me: Congrats on the book "Go, Improv".

Me: Thank you. It has been in process for years. Feels great to have it released. 

Me: Why write a book about improv? 

Me: Well, improv has been a passion of mine for years. I have referenced many books, websites, and secret scrolls to find sources of improv that benefit me. 

Me: So, this isn't new information?

Me: It's improv. There's something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. 

Me: There is a wedding toast in the book. Is that real?

Me: Yes. My friends Matt and Tara got married and asked me to give a speech. I decided to compare improv to marriage. It worked brilliantly. 

Me: What else is in the book?

Me: It's really a collection of essay's that I recently wrote along with years of documentation of short form games that GoProv has been sharing. I have always typed up our set list and shared information to our players. Really what I have done with this book is compiled a bunch of useful information into one pretty collection. 

Me: Tell me about the cover art. 

Me: I really owe that to Ben Longcor. I had a vision in 2019 of what the future of improv would look like and Ben was able to create the image. Who knew that the future of improv would be digital and internet based? 

Me: How have you been adapting to the world of online zoom? 

Me: It has been interesting. I have taken classes with improv royalty from all over the globe. I have performed with international theatres and groups I would have never met pre quarantine. I have been able to teach, learn, share, and play online. The future of improv is now. 

Me: You always say "Improv is life and life is improv". What do you mean by that?

Me: It's pretty straight forward and can be taken literally. Everything we do is improvised. Life does not have a script. 

Me: Tell us about your personal life? 

Me: No. 

Me: Are you hiding something?

Me: No. I'm here to talk about the book.

Me: There are rumors that the book is a metaphor for your love life. 

Me: Uh no. The book is a toolkit for folks who want to learn, teach, and perform improv.

Me: So are you saying there is no truth to the secret Illuminati references. 

Me: My people said that Illuminati questions are unacceptable. 

Me: I'm sorry. Seems like I've touched a nerve.

Me: No. There's no truth the the rumors. I am not involved in any made up cult. 

Me: Isn't improv a cult?

Me: Yes, it is and it is real.

Me: Are you a cult leader?

Me: One of the guidelines in the book is to lead so others can follow and follow so others can lead. Does that sound like a cult?

Me: Yes. 

Me: 

Me:

Me: Are we done here?

Me: One last question. When can the public buy this book?

Me: It's available right now. Send an email to improv@goprov.org or wait until it is available on Amazon. 

Me: Great. Thank you for your time almighty one. 

Me: Yes,and dismissed. 


 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Heart Beet


 Goshen Art House is a little spooky at times. Check out the night Art House came to life. Goshen Art House has been the home to GoProv for many years. Art House can be supported through a monthly Patreon contribution, volunteering, or just renting the space for a private party. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

ZoomProv

What happens when a pandemic forces the entire world to shut down? No theatres, no schools, no large gatherings, and no improv…Improv may not be a priority in those situations, however remember “Improv is life and life is improv” Get some wifi, get a web based app and zoom a zoom zoom and boom boom…there you go. It’s a good distraction from the pandemic, but really health and safety is more important than improv.

ZOOMPROV

Dress for Zoom.

An online Web/Video/Zoom improv session to work on fundamentals, short form games, and long form scene work. Some games are described in the A to Z section and others deserve attention, especially for video improv.  

Introduction: Set the tone at the start of the session with clearly defined boundaries. Make sure everyone knows it is a safe space for everyone to participate without fear of sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, and hate speech. This is also the time to share pronouns and if there are any particularly triggering topics that the group should refrain from mentioning or discussing. This is an opportunity for social distraction and play time in a safe and friendly environment.

All players and participants are assigned a number (1-10+). This will help determine talking order when speaking during certain activities. Zoom can be difficult if people “talk over” each other. Assign “first come”, alphabetically, random, or however you wish as long as it is clear who/where each person is in the group order.

Here is the set list of our first ZoomProv session along with some tips of how to make it effective.

WARM UP:

-Pick Two

Stand up! All players will move in and out of their camera box, dancing and moving around. If only two players seen in the gallery view they “high five” and cheer. Body movement!

-Alphabet Square 

Sequentially go through the alphabet. A category is provided to go around one word at a time A to Z and/or Z to A. Real or made up words. Go quickly and as accurately as possible. If a letter is skipped, it becomes the new reality of the alphabet. Just get the team used to speaking through Zoom and going around the square.

-10,9,8 things

The first player has to quickly list 10 things (any category) and then they challenge someone to list 9 things of a new category. Then challenge someone else to list 8 things…etc.  Go around until everyone gets the chance to participate. Categories should start broad and progress to very specific. (10 foods you love…1 reason to fear commitment)

-Word Association 2-deep

Get a random word from anyone. That is the beginning word. Follow the pattern and continue around the zoom sequentially. Keep the responses to a single word or very short phrase.

Example: Peanut butter. Player 1: “Peanut butter” makes me think of “jelly”. “Jelly” makes me think of “jam”. Player 2: “Jam” makes me think of “dunks”. “Dunks” make me think of “Michael Jordan”, etc.

Do this for 2 rounds. It’s helpful and important to stick with the structure.

-Group Mind

Take the last word of Word Association round 2.  Can the group guess what word is coming up next? Any player can say “one” and any other player can say “two”. On a count of “one, two, three” both players will say their word. If the words match, you have group mind. If the two words are different, take the two words that were shared and seek a bridging word. Keep going until you find group mind…or chaos since its zoom.

-Zip Zap Zop

Call out the name of the performer to Zip/Zap/Zop also pass along a facial expression in the cam

“Steve” Zip, “Stephen” Zap, “Freeto” Zop

Other Variations:

Colors or Words (Red/Blue/Kiwi)

Noun, Verb, Adjective

Short sentence (Example: Stephen Freeto/eats pineapple/ on pizza)

Combine all (zzz and variations) “Zip/Blue/on Pizza” 

ALL PLAY (Games for everyone)

-185 or any pun game

Go in order with no skipping. Force yourself to come up with a pun): random noun (I call my sweetie, sex with us, Hey Morty, B Movie, or any pun related line format.

-Press Conference

One person hides their eyes/ears (or is sent to a breakout room. Various software features may make this easy) while the suggestions are determined. Other players can write something on paper and share it with the zoom screen or use the chat feature. That player is having a press conference. They are someone famous and they did something (invented, arrested, or why they are infamous). All other players ask leading questions to get the person to guess who/what. Offer characters and personalities when asking questions (name and media outlet).

-Word at a time story

Tell a story one word at a time. Get a genre and a title. Start with “once upon a time”

-1 Minute Ted Talk

One person gives a 60 second motivational or informative presentation.

-30 Second Monologue

One person starts a monologue and continues for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds the monologue continues with the same tone and same concept with a new player. Continue with other players. You may need someone to show a timer to the zoom.

-Poetry: Each player presents a piece of poetry based off a suggestion or single word. Free verse, couplets, limerick, haiku, etc.

-Yearbook

Get a suggestion for a “high school club” (improv club, yearbook, etc.) Each player freezes in their camera box. One at a time, players will introduce themselves in character and say something about the club, themselves, or others.

Character Work

-Classic pairs

First player will introduce a brief character

Second player will add a “classic pair” to compliment the first player. All players will clap and proclaim “Classic Pair”.

TWO PLAY (Games for 2 players)

-Ding (say it again, say what)

One person has a bell or makes bell sound (simply say “ding”). Upon a ding of the bell, rephrase what was just said. Alternate version “New Choice”: host requests “new choice or say what or say it again” to change the words, accent, emotion, etc.  The host can ding the players or a fun variation is to have the players ding each other.

-Actors Nightmare

One person can only read from a “book”. Other person must maintain the conversation and justify what is being stated. Use a novel, text messages, Facebook, twitter, or any written words.

 -2 Heads 1 Voice

Players play a scene every other word or at the same time.

-Two Person Scene

Get an opening and closing line of dialogue. Using one sentence at a time create a scene. Establish who, what, where...

-Dear So and So

2 Players will have a pen pal relationship (suggestion needed). Players will write a short letter (reading it aloud while writing) back and forth to each other. First player read their letter…”Dear so and so… and ends with love whoever”. Make the letters short, interesting, and heightened.

-3 Act Play

Act 1 (2 Characters in a setting or event) Use only facial expressions

Act 2 (Same 2 Characters 20 mins later) Single word conversation

Act 3 (Same 2 Characters 20 mins later) Single Line of Dialogue

TWO PLUS (NOT ALL)

-First line last line

Get an opening line of dialogue. 2 players start a scene. Say freeze to stop the scene. 2 other players will start an unrelated scene using the last line of dialogue from the other scene. Continue using the last line of dialogue to switch back to the other scene. The characters and the plot of the scenes continue. 

-Pillar/Hesitation

Start a scene between 2 players. A pause (hesitation) will prompt a third player to provide the next word (single word). “Third player” will rotate sequentially through remaining players. 

-Numbers: Assign each player a number which represents the number of words they can speak.

-Superhero Wedding Best Speech

Similar to superhero eulogy but we want to keep it positive. Superheroes are getting married. Two players will do a “best man” or “maid of honor” speech. (Gender norms and heteronormative expectations are not required. Marriage is between 2 (or more) loving people.)

LONGER FORM

-Free Form

Use any location, relationship, or suggestion from the session to “cut to” the scene. Use characters and edits (time hop, etc.)

-Scene paint

Each person adds an element of the scene. Start with simple suggestion and each person adds to the element of the scene. Add objects and characters but no plot. Once the scene is painted, start the scene remembering and recalling what has been painted.

­-Two person scene-start in the middle. Focus on emotion. Be affected by the emotional response.

·        Every scene should have some object work.

·        Go vague to clear. But still answer who, what, where.

·        One line at a time. (Think about what happened, what was said, object work and everything that just happened before responding.)

·        Rushing to get to the end you will miss stuff. Slow down take time to appreciate the scenes.

-Make it worse 1-10

Actors play a scene and each time the director shouts the next larger number (starting from 1 going to 10) the actors have to make the situation worse for the characters (on a drive 1. We’re lost. 2 were out of gas. 3. I hear something in the bushes 4. The baby is coming! 5. I want a divorce 6. Whatever was in the bushes is getting closer 7. Eat my husband! 8. The baby is here! It’s a vampire baby! (You cheated on me with a vampire?) 9. Here’s my secret vampire lover. 10. Aliens!)

-4 Part Character

First player offers a name, second player offers an adjective, and the third player offers a profession. The fourth player then improvises a thirty-second monologue as “Harvey the paranoid waiter” (or whatever.)

Other Ideas:

·        Overdub or voiceover a tv show: show a muted tv or movie clip.  

·   LaRonde: Character 1 meets character 2. Character 2 meets Character 3. Character 3 meets 4…etc.

·        Character Interview: Pick a character from the session and interview that character.

·        Practice job interviews.

·        Work on social skills.

·        Mute the mic and speak for each other.

·        Have a conversation.

·        Book an online therapy session instead of doing improv.

ZoomProv may be the future of improv, indeed. Back in December 2019 we had a dream, maybe even a premonition. The future of improv for GoProv would be unlike anything we’ve ever done. GoProv was boldly going where no other team has gone before. The theme of “Game On: The Future of Improv” was meant to be a nod to the very distant future of cyborgs, robots, and SpaceProv. Thank you Ben for designing a great image of the future. The season was meant to be a series of game shows and mixed form of short games, long scenes, a projector, a movie screen, and all of the technology available at our place. Fast forward to March 2020…the world shuts down. No live performance, no theatres, no face to face interactions, and only the internet connecting people. Well, well, well, our imaginary future of robots and technologically advanced screens became the only source for improv. The future is now. We are learning to improvise using computer, cell phone, Zoom, Twitch, Facebook live, IG live, and every new app available. It is different indeed, but many of the rules and guidelines apply. A rule for GoProv and friends is “if it’s not a hell yes, the answer is no.” Get people who say “hell yes” and make sure everyone is participating because they want to be involved. It’s the only way to embrace the changes and the new normal. 

Plus Zoom has a mute button.